Reds’ unity delights Dalglish

Maxi Rodriguez scored his first hat-trick for the club, Dirk Kuyt

hit his seventh goal in six Premier League matches and substitute

Joe Cole added a late fifth on Saturday. Coincidentally, the

scoreline also matched that which Dalglish had the only other time

he met Birmingham when he was Reds boss first time around. It was

Liverpool’s biggest win since beating Hull 6-1 in September 2009, a

result which briefly took them top of the table. Rodriguez, who

replaced injured £35million striker Andy Carroll, grabbed the

headlines but it was the quality of the team’s play which stood

out. “Maxi is a very intelligent footballer. He’s not a direct

replacement for Andy but he’s got more goals than him in that one

performance,” he said. “Maxi has not played for a few weeks and

came on and did a fantastic job for us. Joe also got his reward

because he has trained well and he came on and got a goal. “It

won’t do Joe or Maxi any harm and the joy the players got from Maxi

scoring his hat-trick and Joe scoring his goal reflects how close a

group they are and that is great for the club. “They are all

playing for each other and the players are going to play better if

they are confident and if they are happy going to work they will

get better results.” Liverpool were in control from the moment

Rodriguez put them ahead in the seventh minute and apart from a

10-minute spell from Birmingham after they conceded, the hosts were

rarely troubled throughout. “Getting a goal early doors set us on

our way,” added Dalglish. “They put us under pressure after that

without us being over-worked. “We then got the second goal but the

third was the most important. “I think we were deserved winners, we

played some fantastic football and we have had a good day and it

was very enjoyable for us.” Dalglish played down the absence of

Carroll, who injured a knee in last Sunday’s draw at Arsenal. “He’s

not too bad. We’ll just have to wait and see,” said the Scot, whose

next match is against Carroll’s former club Newcastle. “It will be

a big game for him next week but a bigger game for the club.”

Birmingham manager Alex McLeish bemoaned his side’s defending early

on, admitting it ruined their game plan from the off. “The first

goal for us was a killer blow, losing it so early because you are

coming here to frustrate,” he said. “It disrupted totally our

plans. The first two goals were really soft, we have to do better.

“For the second goal there was a big hole in the centre of our

defence and that is most unlike us. “Quite simply the boys have got

to get back to their best. “We know today was a bad day at the

office but I don’t believe it will affect morale.”